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Digital privacy being compromised

Ōtepoti – Data privacy exchanged for frictionless convenience is being compromised, stolen and leaked with disturbing regularity.

People do not consciously put a price on their online privacy and most are unaware of how much data they are voluntarily sharing.

Aotearoa needs a more coordinated approach across the public and private sector to tackle cyber security and enhance data protection.

The world is more wired than ever. Digital networks connect everything from office computers and bank accounts to baby monitors and pacemakers.

Connectivity is blurring the lines between what is public and private. Privacies usually taken for granted – from web searches to heart-beats – are being steadily exploited in exchange for frictionless convenience.

Meanwhile, personal data is being compromised, stolen and leaked with disturbing regularity. Promises made by cyber security companies of enhanced data privacy and protection ring hollow.

It’s time to redefine how data is governed, controlled and shared. Here’s how

Most people do not consciously put a price on their online privacy. But what if they did?

A 2020 survey of Argentinians, Brazilians, Colombians, Mexicans, Germans and US citizens did precisely this. The Technology Policy Institute, a think tank, asked respondents how much a company would have to pay them each month to disclose various types of personal data.

While the exact amounts varied across countries and categories – with Germans charging the most and US residents the least – the average came out to a surprisingly affordable $US10, or $US120 a year.

Yet most people are still unaware of just how much data they are voluntarily sharing, much less what is being syphoned from them involuntarily. But this is starting to change. The explosion of cyber attacks, especially ransomware, now makes the headlines.

US companies are paying 400 percent more in ransom payouts in 2021 compared to 2019. The average cost of a disclosed ransomware attack is a staggering $1.8 million, with companies forced to pay up or have millions of private records scattered across the internet. Predictably, cybersecurity insurance premiums are spiralling upward.

Try as tech companies might to quell it, the popular push back against surveillance capitalism is gathering pace.  More and more believe that their data is less secure than ever before. A 2019 survey of 24 countries found that 80 percent of respondents were concerned about online privacy, with one in four saying they did not trust the internet.

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